Bird Song Psychology Research Laboratory | CUNY Hunter College

CUNY and Hunter College commissioned Goshow Architects to design the new laboratory suite for a world-renowned scientist who studies songbirds as a mechanism of vocal learning. Similar to early speech development in the human infant, the songbird learns to imitate complex sounds during a critical period of development. The laboratory will examine the animal behavior and dynamics of vocal learning and sound production across different brain levels, and aims to uncover the specific physiological and molecular (gene expression) brain processes that underlie song learning. (

This specific type of work required a functional space that services multiple uses.  We worked closely with the client to analyze his existing space and usage patterns to provide a new, optimized laboratory suite.  The suite includes two laboratory behavioral rooms, providing individual and colony type environments, as well as a private office, open work station area and ensuite conference room. The new space was created by gutting five existing small offices and one laboratory.  Material selection was an important part of design because of the unique functional requirements of the space. Epoxy resin was used as a floor and wall finish material in two laboratories for its utilitarian qualities, while raw homasote was used in another for its sound deadening properties. The remaining non-laboratory spaces feature custom millwork, durable carpet tile flooring and energy efficient lighting with occupancy sensors.

The research undertaken in this space was featured in a June 2013 New York Times article.